by Lou Chibbaro Jr; Washington Blade; Published on April 1, 2010 <Original Article>
More than one dozen recently designated affiliate members of the D.C. police’s Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit were formally introduced March 25 during a reception at the D.C. Center.
Close to two dozen GLLU affiliate officers, who work out of the department’s seven police districts throughout the city, are part of Police Chief Cathy Lanier’s plan to expand and decentralize the unit.
“This is just the beginning,” said Assistant D.C. Police Chief Diane Groomes. “Chief Lanier would say this is a work in progress.”
Groomes said more officers have expressed an interest in joining the GLLU than any of the other special liaison units, including the Latino, Asian & Pacific Islander, and Deaf & Hard of Hearing units.
The reception was hosted by the D.C. Center; Gays & Lesbians Opposing Violence, a center project; and Rainbow Response, a local coalition that advocates for LGBT people victimized by domestic violence. GLLU officials have said that the largest percentage of calls the unit receives for assistance are related to domestic violence matters.
Kelly Pickard, GLOV’s co-chair, told the gathering that her group is hopeful that the expanded GLLU and its newly designated members will help local activists more aggressively combat anti-LGBT hate crimes. She noted that D.C. has the largest number of anti-LGBT hate crimes recorded among most U.S. cities.
“You are heroic in what you do, day and night,” she told officers at the reception.
Rainbow Response official June Crenshaw echoed Pickard’s sentiments, saying, “We depend on you.”